Thermally modified ash floating deck brings Pahang, Malaysian community together

The KotaSAS development, built with thermal modified American ash

A floating timber platform built at the KotaSAS development in state of Pahang, Malaysia aims to bring the local community together.

Planned as a township to promote healthy living, the KotaSAS development brings together mixed housing, retail, business and leisure. The key to community is space to gather, eat and chat. Central to the residential area is a vast lake with leafy surrounds. Open plaza seating and a floating deck extending into the water is the ideal spot for friends and neighbours to meet.

Landscape architects Pentago and Eddy Teh from Efish discussed how best to achieve their vision of a floating timber platform which was structurally, environmentally and aesthetically sound.

“We usually choose between indigenous hardwoods, and increasingly we are seeing artificial timbers, plastic composites being specified,” Teh said, both of which survive the challenging humid weather in Malaysia.  

However, aware of a growing drive towards more sustainable design and materials, a trip to Turkey offered another option for consideration. It was there that Teh met with the team at TanTimber who introduced him to thermally modified (TMT) American ash.

According to American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC), thermal modification is a process by which heating the timber to the point of combustion reduces the moisture content to around 4-6%.

This change is permanent and means the timber does not react as quickly to humidity as untreated timber and improves the stability. This is further improved by removing hemicelluloses and carbohydrates from the wood which are the two main food sources for wood-destroying creatures.

This means the timber has durability equivalent to tropical timbers such as Ipe which, unlike American timbers, have been over-harvested for years. It makes it an ideal choice for an outdoor community space such as the one surrounding the KotaSAS lake.

Furthermore, the floating deck of stamped concrete and TMT American ash adds a touch of luxury to a functional space with its rich, dark tones. 

As with all American timber species, the pronounced grain also signals quality. As Teh added: “Imported timber remains popular in high-end developments, resorts and hotels. It looks more expensive and lux than the regular tropical timbers.”